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4. Rev. Joseph Stennett, M. A. (son of Dr. Stennett.) 5. Rev. James Bicheno, I M. A. 6. Rev. Richard Pryce. 7. Rev. Benjamin Wheeler, appointed in 1840. 8. Rev. J. Jackson, the present minister, appointed in 1848.
The incumbent of this chapel serves also at a small meetinghouse in Bampton, in Aston School-room and elsewhere, on particular occasions.
§ 23. COTE HOUSE, This interesting mansion was probably built in the reign of Elizabeth or James I. It has two projecting wings with gabled roofs, like nearly all the houses erected at the same period, but the wings are of unequal height, which somewhat detracts from the grandeur of its appearance.
The centre of the building forms a long hall, into which the door, which is in the middle of the principal front, opens without screen or vestibule: At the upper end of the ball is the drawing room, a wainscotted appartment, beyond which is an ancient staircase of heavy oak leading to the state bed-room, which was once ornamented with oak carving, but this has lately been removed by the present owner, H. Hippisley, esq. to embellish' his mansion at Lambourn Place, an ancient residence, which has lately been enlarged in the Elizabethan style of architecture, near Hungerford. When Mr. Skelton wrote his work on the Antiquities of Oxfordshire, there were some interesting shields of arms on painted glass in one of the principal apartments. “Amongst t'iese," says Mr. Skelton, " I noticed the arms of Blount, with others of families of consequence, who had probably resided or
Author of somo works on Prophecy.
been entertained here, in former times.” These coats of arms, twenty-four in number, are now at Lambourn-Place, where they form conspicuous ornaments in the large window on the staircase and in the windows which surround the inner court of that beautiful mansion. The arms are all of the sixteenth century, and many of them are surrounded by the garter, bearing the motto HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE. Three of them bear the names of Blunte, Lee and Hanbury, and one of them has the Greek motto heos haimatos antipelargon,-a mistake, I suppose, of some unlearned painter for antipalaion, — "struggling even to blood.”
There are also other objects of interest which have been removed from Cote House to Lambourn-Place : amongst others I noticed two chairs, as old as the reign of King Charles, one of them ornamented with a ducal coronet.
The screen, also, which now stands at the extremity of the hall at Lambourn-Place, is a most beautiful relic of the Elizabethan style, and has been introduced into its present position with no greater alteration than the removal of one or two rows of pannels, by which its breadth has been adjusted to the dimensions of the apartment in which it stands.
But the spolia opima, in the opinion of some persons, from Cote House, are five paintings, the merit of which must be evident to the most negligent and most inexperienced beholder. These are, 1. A portrait of Sir Thos. Horde, painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller, 2. A female, by the same artist, 3. The last Mr. Horde, by Beach. 4. Miss Horde, daughter of the last Mr. Horde, and who bequeathed the Cote estate to the Rev. II. Hippisley, father of H. Hippisley esq. the present owner--this painting is by Gainsborough or Beach, probably the latter, 5. A boy, by Sir Peter Lilly.
§ 24. SHIFFORD. Two miles from Aston and one mile from Cote House is Shifford, formerly, as it is said, a place of much consequence ; but we find no confirmation of this in ancient records. The account which will further on be laid before the reader of its having been the place where Alfred once held a parliament, furnishes no ground for supposing that it was more than a village or small town; for in those turbulent times, a parliament was as rude a body of men as can well be conceived, and their parliament-house was more likely to be a wild heath than a Westminster Hall. Still there is no doubt that Shif. ford was once a more important place than it is now, and perhaps contained several houses and strcets. At present there is nothing but its solitary little church,* 4 or 5 cottages, and Shifford farm-house, the property of the Harcourt farcily, and the residence of their tenant, Mr. Peter Williams, a gentleman known far and near for his hospitality and honest independence of character, to which the writer of these pages is happy to be able to pay this humble tribute.
Nearly the whole of Shifford district-or parish, as it is sometimes § called
consists of common fields, almost wholly destitute of timber, and lying close upon the river which for many weeks in every year overflows its banks and deluges a large quantity of land. Further information concerning Shifford, its ancient history, its manor and other particulars, will be given hereafter in the Chronological arrangement of past events which have happened in this parish.
* The old church of Shifford, which was very ancient, fell down in the year 1772 : that which now occupies its place, is a small building of the most plain, unadorned character. It was not completed till some years after, when the Rev. Samuel Johnson, one of the vicars of Bampton, officiated in it.
§ It has been suggested to me, since the publication of the first edition of this work, that Shifford was perhaps originally a separate parish and that its connection with Bampton has merged its former independence. If so, the union of the two parishes would more correctly be expressed “ Bampton cum Shifford.”